“Actualizing greatness will often cost you people, places and things. The price is so high that many will opt-out and embrace normality. But those who understand they were born for greatness and choose to weather the storms of transition and change will experience a limitless and unfathomable existence”– Philosophy of greatness, Ayo Jimmy
Coco Romero Lee is an International Business Liaison, Motivational speaker and Executive Coach at Executive Languages MX, Mexico’s first executive coaching firm dedicated to working with ambitious LATAM professionals. Executive Languages MX specializes in private and corporate programs that impulse high potential individuals in expanding their C-level careers in today’s competitive global business market.
As a South Korean immigrant in Canada, Coco has personally broken barriers and ceilings to become the youngest minority female executive in her competitive Finance sector. Coco’s ability to develop emerging talent has crossed various borders, She believes in the future world of the global citizen and business professional. Coco has facilitated and engineered the cultural change program between Latin America and the United States for global conglomerates such as Bed Bath and Beyond, as well as coaching top legal counsels at the prestigious Mexican law firm, Creel garcía-cuéllar Aiza y Enríquez.
Coco is a business coach certified with the International Coaching Federation, as well as a nominee at the 2020 Global Forum for Education and Learning as Top 100 Leaders in Education. Coco holds a double-degree in Finance and International relations from the University of Toronto and has thrived as an accomplished Private banker with HSBC Private banking before pioneering Executive Languages MX.
Could you tell us about the company you created and/or the professional services you offer?
For sure! The consultancy I founded is called Executive Languages MX. We are an Executive training firm dedicated to preparing executives in non-English speaking countries to take their careers abroad. We are focused on the Latin American market at the moment but have worked with C-level executives in South Korea and China as well. We focus quite a bit on the top 4 soft skills in demand for a future global executive, which are Communication skills, Negotiation techniques, Persuasion and Sales leadership. We do this through individual programs as well as group workshops (In-person & Online).
What did you do before starting your own project?
I was working as an independent Business Liaison with Korean and Canadian businesses venturing in Mexico. Okay wait, I think that also counts as an individual project – Before that, I was a Private Banker with HSBC in Canada before starting my adventure in Mexico!
What motivated you to take the big step?
As long as I can remember, I was always working. Ever since I was 13 years old. My younger self just liked the freedom of earning my own allowance. It wasn’t until later when I was older and in a corporate setting that I realized there was always going to be a ceiling. Not only financially, but also in my ability to exercise creativity as well as advancement opportunities as a young, visible-minority woman (In Canada). I remember having a mini-panic attack and I felt like if I didn’t do something about it now, I never will. I bought a plane ticket that day and flew to a place I didn’t know anyone nor spoke the language – Hola Mexico!
What tools or skills were the most useful for planning the start of your project?
Tool-wise, I am a big fan of Google Suite. I find it is the most user-friendly when it comes to small businesses. Starting your own business is also a daunting and terrifying task where your mental state is reflected in the outcome of the business. I meditated A LOT and wrote down messages/ affirmations for myself to see everywhere in my house. This helped me stay focused and pushed me to keep going when I came across set-backs.
Which were the main economic challenges you faced during your project?
ALL OF THEM. I really bootstrapped. I didn’t have much capital to invest in the business and usually put back in everything I earned from the first few clients I had.
How did you get your first customer/client / money earned?
Linkedin. Although it is highly-utilized everywhere else, this is the one tool that gets under-utilized quite a bit in Mexico. I completed my profile and started interacting with everyone that I thought could be a potential customer. I was easily messaging up to 80 people a day in the beginning.
What was the role of your support network, mentors or sponsors at the start of your project?
I didn’t have much of a support network, mentors, let alone sponsors in the beginning. My business model was the first of its kind in the market, and I often received advice that kept pushing me behind or was outside the scope of what I actually wanted to do. So I started seeking out the people who I thought were where I wanted to be in a few years. But to my dismay, the majority ignored me, so I started watching a lot of business coaching videos, listened to hours of podcasts and took a myriad of business-coaching programs online. This clarified some of the questions I had initially when structuring the business. To be honest, it took a lot of trial & error, undercharging for services, as well as many sleepless nights thinking about how I can really make this work.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
It is never just one habit actually. We often think if we just get up at 5 am every morning, we will magically become so productive and our business will automatically thrive. That is not the case. It will definitely help, as you now have more hours in the day, but it cannot be the only thing that you do. It’s an entire system, a mental model, and a mindset that impulses the entrepreneur to become more productive. Personally, mine has been a lot of self-reflection, where I analyze my actions of the day and edit for the better going forward. You are your own masterpiece, feel free to add a little paint there, sculpt the edges and mould yourself to what is needed in the future accordingly.
Is there a book, series or podcast that you’re particularly into right now? (business related or otherwise)
I have always been a fan of Podcasts and Books/Audiobooks. The podcasts I am listening to at the moment can be found here on my Spotify account. This list also gets updated weekly so take a look! For books, Tools of Titans and Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss has been very useful, as it features world-class performers and their daily habits and advice.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Yes. Even after reading this and various interviews, if you still feel like you can’t do start something on your own.. come connect with me out on Linkedin (Coco Romero Lee) or Instagram (@cocoromerolee). I guarantee you that you can 🙂